This image has been signed and features the scientific name of the flower below the signature: "ORCHIDACEAE Bulbophyllum (cirrhopetalum) rothschildidnum" - a small-sized species of orchid found in southern China and northeast India. Flowers are a common subject matter of Blackadder's, whose style takes influence from Japanese artwork in the use of delicate colours against dark lines and the use of blank space to emphasise the delicacy of the organic subject.
This image demonstrates the artist's immense talent for minimalism. The thin lines used to outline the flower do not contain colour fills and so appear especially fragile against the white space behind them that takes up the top half of the paper. Only two colours are used, yet the artist gets the most out of them. The brown lines vary in thickness and intensity creating differing levels of emphasis. The pinks used to colour the flowers are spotted in a regular pattern, a subtle effect that is hard to detect at a distance but up close reveals the artist's exquisite attention to detail.
Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk in 1931. She is today one of Britain's most renowned artists and was the first woman to be elected as a member of the Royal Scottish Academy as well as the Royal Academy. She paints in oil and watercolours and has worked with printmakers on a variety of printing techniques. Her sensitivity to her surroundings has inspired many still lives, as well as many portraits of her cats, where she captures the paraphernalia around her studio and her domestic interior in compositions tending towards the abstract. The objects featured in her paintings are often those she collected during her many travels in Europe and in the East. The space between objects and their resonance with each other hold a great fascination for her.
Philip Long, 'Elizabeth Blackadder', National Galleries of Scotland, 2011